A frog made frog sounds in the bushes. It kept me awake with its frog sound. The rain on the roof was louder than those frog sounds. The rain tapped a noise I could tune out. Each croak came at random intervals. Random: I could not tune out.
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I remain very unsure about the role of sentences and the degree to which syntax should be a primary interest for a prose writer. While I admire Gertrude Stein and Gary Lutz and feel a degree of debt to their exploration of syntax, I find myself equally drawn to writers who are not really concerned with syntactical novelty.
I posted my design and speculation about how a “future” word processor will change composition at the PLUMB Blog.
The simple word processor remains a relic in our operating systems. Microsoft Word has bolted some concessions to the wired world into it — you can right-click and look up a word in Wikipedia — but the essential metaphor, a sheet of paper, harkens back to typewriters, correction tape, and postage stamps.
The old word processor should be thrown out. Do not even consider it. We don’t read on paper and haven’t been using it write for nearly a generation. What would the new word processor be like? And how might this new word processor change our conception of composition?
I posted some thoughts on the uniqueness of author names given Google and the importance of having a name that can be found on the internet if you think potential readers may enter your name into Google to find your books.
Writers have often deliberated over their names. They might take up pen names to protect their identity or names to conceal their gender. Lewis Carroll is really Charles Lutwidge Dodgson. George Eliot is really Mary Ann Evans. It is less common I think these days to do this. I imagine that sometime soon writers will consider the unique string (the sequence of characters) to create a unique online handle. A Google alert for the writer Fred Smith would be useless among the hundreds of Smith’s busy posting blog entries and photos to Flickr. A writer named, Dog11&Tree, would at least have the knowledge that she is the only one with that name on the Web.
Click here for the full post. Thanks.
I posted a short essay in response to two questions that always seems to be asked of fiction writers: “What percentage of your work is fiction?” (100% — it’s fiction) and “Where do your ideas come?” from:
The phrase, “Don’t get any ideas,” is of course, impractical. When this is said to me, I already have many ideas and just the breath issuing the phrase gives me more ideas. “Don’t think of an elephant,” gives you some ideas about elephants. The phrase “don’t get any ideas about elephants,” is probably too filthy to contemplate.
Matthew Simmons the author of the Jello Horse, victor of the first Literary Death Match in Seattle, and author of THE book defining the emerging genre of black metal fiction, The Moon Tonight Feels My Revenge, will be reading and answering questions at Pilot Books at 7 p.m. on Tuesday. I will also be reading from my new novel, The Strong Man, about the Gulf War. You can read a copy or buy one here. If you are in Seattle I hope you can make it for an evening of sludge, sand dunes, and SCUDS.
Here is the post at Pilot Books with some video footage of Mr. Simmons reading. They also found a video of me doing something.
One of the paradoxes as a student of creative writing was the number of times I heard my teachers declare that writing cannot be taught. In what other profession than writing could a professional declare that the reason for his employment, the teaching of this vocation, is not possible? At the time, I wondered why I was paying this or that teacher’s tuition. And yet despite their best attempts not to teach me writing, I did learn how to write stories and novels from these instructors.
My story, “Hunger,” will appear in the new issue of MonkeyBicycle. This from the good folks at MonkeyBicycle:
Order before March 15th and get a free back issue! Just list the one you want (either four, five, six, or seven) in the Note to Seller section at check-out and we’ll make sure it’s included with your Monkeybicycle8 order.
Like Catch-22, The Strong Man looks at the army and sees a laughable sort of institutional insanity, a stew of jargon and bureaucracy and young men wrestling with order, chaos, and mortality. Unlike Joseph Heller’s language, which sings and leaps forward and explores weird avenues at a moment’s notice like the world’s longest Yiddish joke, Briggs’s is full of the terseness and the staccato sentences of Raymond Carver. The difference between Heller and Briggs is in the language, and that difference bespeaks a larger rift between the two.
You can read the entire review here.